Aprendo: An alternative to language textbooks

By Catalina Méndez Vallejo

Commercial textbooks constitute the most common teaching resource in the U.S., and represent a highly competitive industry.  Their omnipresence has become a key factor in determining how language courses are structured and what teaching materials are used in the classroom.  Although language textbooks standardize instruction and provide a variety of visually appealing ancillary resources, they tend to present extensive deductive grammar explanations, mechanical tasks, output-centered activities, author-generated readings, and an information approach to culture.  Their cost is also often prohibitive. Hence, textbooks seem not only dispensable, but may in fact be fundamentally flawed and even detrimental to language learning.

Being aware of these limitations and having experienced a series of pedagogical and logistical hurdles with commercial textbooks, our team recently created and implemented Aprendo, an interactive and flexible online language learning platform, specially tailored for Princeton University students enrolled in beginner and intermediate Spanish classes.

The Aprendo team: Andie Faber, Anais Holgado-Lage, Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Adriana Meriño, Le Anne Spino-Seijas, Sylvia Zetterstrand

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